Chili Pepper Blues and Your Professional Future

Chili Pepper Blues and Your Professional Future

Some like it hot. For example, I love chili paste on virtually anything, ideally the Huy Fong product with the rooster on the bottle. Others prefer Sriracha. But we spicy food lovers are likely to be disappointed as “Crop issues due to severe drought in Mexico have plagued the red jalapeno chili pepper crop and re­sulted in nationwide shor­tages of the product for consumers and for restaurants.” [See source.]

Worse yet, coffee itself could also be under threat, “Coffee production is fragile, and […] reports indicate that climate change […] will reduce worldwide yields on average and decrease coffee-suitable land by 2050. [See source.]

In fact, wheat, sardines, almonds, chickpeas, grapes, cranberries… they are all under threat as the climate and growing conditions change. [See source.]

So, it seems inevitable that what we eat and drink may need to evolve.

In addition, where we live may also not be entirely secure.

The east coast of the US received a wake-up call when smoke from Canadian wildfires affected air quality in early June. California and the west were already familiar with the phenomenon. Whether due to extreme heat, drought, inundation as sea levels rise or unbreathable air, Jakarta, Delhi, Lima, Lagos, Karachi, Port-au-Prince, Miami—all of these are among the global cities most affected by climate change. [See source.] In the US, coastal cities such as San Francisco, New York, and West Palm Beach, but also in-land cities including Phoenix and Tucson all expect to see significant, negative changes in living conditions. [See source.]

But your job is a safe, right?

Perhaps, or perhaps not. Let us consider one example industry.

“Ford estimates that the streamlined assembly of EVs [electric vehicle] could result in a 50 percent reduction in capital investments and a 30 percent reduction in labor hours compared to ICE [internal combustion engine] manufacturing. Nearly 150,000 U.S. workers make components for internal combustion powertrains, and almost one million people are employed in auto parts manufacturing. With EVs, a significant number of those jobs should disappear.”

“Manufacturing workers won’t be the only area of the workforce negatively impacted. The more straightforward design and flexible platforms with EVs require less engineering, product development, and purchasing. And EVs don’t need oil changes or frequent maintenance, which means reduced demand and less revenue for dealerships and auto-body shops. The transition will have a significant impact on suppliers and ancillary industries as well.” [See source.]

Of course, technology also creates jobs.

“Think about it: computing specialists, social media managers, digital marketers, energy engineers, software and app developers, drone operators, YouTube content creators… How many people are working today in areas that did not exist 50 years ago?”

“And this seems to be an unstoppable trend. A report by the Institute for the Future […] estimated that nothing less than 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet.” [See source.]

In fact, possibly everything we think we know about the future is in flux.

Take population, for example. “The 15 biggest economies in the world, including Brazil, China, India, [the US] and Mexico all have fertility rates below 2.1 [the replacement rate].” At the extreme end, South Korea is now expected to shrink from 52 million inhabitants today to 24 million in 2100. “South Korea may be an exceptional case, but demographic decline is becoming commonplace.” [Source: The Economist, June 3, 2023, “The Old and the Zestless”]

Shrinking population affects numerous other aspects of life. Who will buy consumer products? Who will invest in the stock market? And who will care for the old? Immigration offers only limited respite when most developing countries’ population is also expected to shrink.

The answer may well be automation. Robots. Artificial intelligence. Maybe.

So what are you personally doing about the chili pepper shortage? Or, indeed, any of the other topics highlighted above that promise significant change in the coming years?

Nothing? Sitting tight? Hoping for the best?

That’s your choice, but there is another option.

You could be proactive and design your own future because your profession is also malleable. Why not explore our Industry Update series to reflect on your options?

Every day we help clients consider alternative uses for their talent and experience, other industries to consider, new roles, and/or locations where they and their loved ones might be more comfortable in the future. Of course, if you need proof, we offer numerous Success Studies proving the point.

As the first or “target-setting” step, our Clarity Program© helps clients clarify who they are, what they like to do, what they want more or less of in their lives, and ultimately, the ideal role and circumstances for their next professional engagement. Once the professional target is clear, each client is supported by a team of six professionals to go out and achieve that target, applying the tried and true techniques that have served thousands of executives over more than 30 years, and earned the Barrett Group recognition by Forbes for the past four years as one of the best in the business.

You may not be able to solve the chili pepper shortage, but you can certainly chart and follow the best course for your career and your life—regardless of what the future may bring.

Let us know if we can be of assistance. Submit your Resume today. 

Peter Irish, CEO
The Barrett Group

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